I miss Africa

16 Aug

So camping in the middle of the Serengeti (complete with being able to see giraffes, buffalos, etc. just strolling past our campsite) was amazing, but since I haven’t had any time to write because of packing and getting my last assignments in, I’ll just say that you HAVE to visit the Serengeti at least once in your life. While there, sit out at night, look at the stars, and listen to the lions and hyenas. Next, visit an African orphanage, the Maasai Market in Mto wa Mbu, and the Shirt Shack (while you’re at the Shack act like you have lobster claws and chase the little kids around that live in the huts around the area). Priceless.

P.S. Sorry this is kind of long.

Well I’m home!… after the best month of my life. I miss Africa sooo much. It’s more the fact that I miss the students, the staff, the environment, the wildlife, the people. I miss waking up to an African sunrise and then watching the sun set while driving back to camp in the Land Cruisers. Although I have to admit the sunset over Lake Michigan tonight did give the African ones a run for their money, it just wasn’t the same. I miss the kids running up to us shaking our hands and laughing when we pick them up and throw them in the air. I miss the good times I had with the staff and students, how close we got and how by the end of the program we were all wishing we had longer with each other because we felt like family. I miss the view we had of Lake Manyara everyday driving down the road heading into Mto wa Mbu. I miss the red dirt and feeling like I could just sleep on the ground without getting any dirtier than I already was, and I miss not having a care in the world about the dirt because I knew that there were more important things than being clean. Except when you have 3 layers of dirt completely covering your face from standing out of the hatches while driving 45 mph down a dirt road into the Serengeti. That took some serious cleaning. If that sounded disgusting trust me it definitely was. But it was also probably one of the funniest moments of the trip too. I miss sleeping in a tent. I miss waking up and hearing scratching sounds on the side of my tent, which always turned out to be my friend coming to make sure I was awake when we had morning cook crew due to the fact that I couldn’t wake up to my own watch alarm. I actually do miss Thomson’s Gazelles, no matter how much we hated them after counting literally hundreds for our animal count assignments. I miss watching the staff act like they were still kids, which was a pretty common sight and definitely provided a lot of comedy during the month. I miss the staff’s accents too and the Swahili they taught us, then having the campsite owner come by and being so surprised by how much we knew. I miss sneaking into the kitchen to steal milk that our Cook had boiling in a pot on the kitchen stove at 11 pm just to make a cup of chai, instead of finishing assignments that were due in an hour. I miss trying desperately to figure out what the people were saying to each other in Swahili, then realizing I would never know. Then also realizing Swahili was the coolest language in the world and I didn’t care if I knew what they were saying, I just wanted to sit and listen to everyone speak it. I miss the culture. I miss the little close knit bomas. I miss the laid back old-American lifestyle. I miss studying outside and being outside every moment of every day. I miss the no hurries in Africa, the no worries in Africa.

I miss a lot, but I would rather miss it than never have experienced it.

When I got back to the States, it felt so wrong not saying jambo (a.k.a. hi) to everyone I saw, but then I realized that it wasn’t really acceptable and you’d more or less get weird looks around here. I just had to accept that. I was also a little freaked out about the water pressure in the shower, not gonna lie. Coming back I was scared that I wouldn’t like it here anymore, but I realized that’s not true. It’s just the fact that I’ve experienced how amazing life can be in other places when you go and learn about culture and study what you love among friends who become family and a foreign place that becomes home.

I still love the United States, being here with my family, and going to school at Purdue.

On the other hand though,

I miss Africa.

But I’ll go back.

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2 Responses to “I miss Africa”

  1. purdueabroad August 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Savanna,

    Asante sana for this post. It has now been two years since I lived in Kenya and your entry made it feel like it was yesterday.

    Now that you are back, feel free to stop by office anytime to share pictures and stories–I’d love to see them!

    Kwaheri,
    LeeAnn

  2. Satdeep August 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Hello Savanna,

    A great post which I resonate with. I stayed in Southern Africa for over 2.5 years and travelled a fair bit. One thing about Africa – you either hate it or love it, there are no grays. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the latter group.

    The countries (Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia), each with their unique blend of culture, traditions, society, economics and social outlook, have left an indelible mark. The wildlife, the profundity of flora & fauna, the simple outlook & lifestyle and the uncomplicated approach to life – These are a few thing that I miss. And the people, ohhh the people, meeting them, interacting with them, living with them, made every lost bag at the airport or minor trouble at the border outpost or the lack of availability of things I took for granted worthwhile.

    Shamelessly Plagiarising, I say:

    I miss Africa.
    But I’ll go back.
    To stay.

    Regards,
    Satdeep

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